Pineapple-Teriyaki ChickenIf you're anything like me, you've been looking for inexpensive, but filling, ingredients to build your dinner around. If you're turning to chicken, take it one, cheaper, step further and choose chicken thighs over breasts. You'll save money since thighs don't command breasts' premium prices. And as a bonus, you'll be treated to more flavor, a little more iron and almost twice the zinc-not bad for a small increase in calories (177 calories for 3 ounces of thigh versus 138 calories for breast).
Without skin, thigh meat moves into "lean meat" territory. And the slightly higher fat content of thighs (6 grams fat for 3 ounces) versus breasts (3 grams) makes thigh meat more forgiving of overcooking. Try thighs in any of these cheap dinner recipes and you'll be glad you crossed over to the dark side.
Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken (pictured above): Grilled teriyaki chicken with pineapple can be made with just a few pantry staples. Although it's delicious when made with canned pineapple, fresh pineapple and its juice can easily be used in its place. Serve with brown rice and snow peas.
1/3 cup dry sherry (see Note, below)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 20-ounce can pineapple rings, plus 1/3 cup juice from the can
4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed (see Tip, below)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1. Whisk sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar and the 1/3 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl. Add pineapple rings and chicken and gently stir to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high.
3. Remove the chicken and pineapple from the marinade and pat dry; reserve the marinade. Oil the grill rack by oiling a folded paper towel, holding it with tongs and rubbing it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) Grill the chicken and pineapple until the chicken is cooked through and the pineapple is marked, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
4. Whisk the reserved marinade and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until reduced and thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in butter. Serve the chicken and pineapple drizzled with the sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 360 calories; 11 g fat (4 g sat, 3 g mono); 83 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 1 g fiber; 467 mg sodium; 238 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value).
Note: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the "cooking sherry" sold in many supermarkets-it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.
Tip: You'll need about 1 1/2 pounds untrimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs to serve four people. For recipes that call for one large thigh per person, buy them at the butcher counter; prepackaged thighs vary dramatically in size. Ask for four 6-ounce boneless, skinless thighs. To trim them well, we like to use kitchen shears to snip the fat away from the meat. After trimming, you'll have four 4-ounce portions.
Stuffing-Topped Chicken: Here's a one-skillet version of chicken and stuffing made with wholesome ingredients (boneless, skinless breast works in place of thighs too). Serve with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
Chicken Thighs with Pear & Leek Sauce: Here, we combine currant jelly-a tasty "secret" ingredient in rich sauces for game birds or poultry-with a medley of fall flavors, such as pears, walnuts and leeks, to make a quick pan sauce. Serve with quinoa and broccolini.
'Tis the season to dust off your slow cooker for Barbecue Pulled Chicken. This reinterpretation of pulled pork uses healthful chicken and lots of tomato sauce. Have sliced jalapenos, sliced red onions and some sour cream on hand to top this hearty main course.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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